Thursday, June 07, 2007
USA Today's cover story today, "Is a little medical coverage that much better than none?" revisits the issue of "limited benefit" health insurance which I talked about in April's Plastic Surgery 101 post, "Tennessee's experiment in (slightly less than) universal healthcare coverage".
The philosophic issue is whether crappy health coverage is better then no coverage. On balance I'd say no for most people, as it will only encourage employer's to give fewer benefits and leave more people under-insured. This is a bumpy transition period towards Universal Healthcare I believe, and these type of plans were well-intentioned band-aids on a failing infrastructure. However, an approx. 15% annual growth rate in enrollees in limited benefit plans has the insurance companies scrambling to make a buck, which is now catching regulators attention. As a Doctor, I can promise you that anything insurance companies rapidily try to co-opt is going to bit you in the ass at some point.
Also illustrated in the USA-Today story is just how far patients have become removed from the cost of delivering health care as one of the people in the article seemed surprised (and indignant) that he'd actually received a bill from the Doctor!